The Preaching of the Cross
Foolishness or The Power of God

1 Corinthians - Chapter 1 - vs. 18

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (King James Bible)

The preaching of the cross

The cross is the crux, the fulcrum, the central point of what is Christianity. It is the event, time and place from which past history points and upon which the future of mankind rests. Much of prophecy points toward the life of Jesus and his sacrifice that opened the door to eternal life. Some examples are: 1/ The words God spoke to the serpent (Gen 3:14-15), 2/ Moses talking about the prophet to come who is like him (Deut 18:15), 3/ King David speaking about the suffering of the one to come (Psa 22:12-18).

These prophecies are "words of knowledge." They are a revelation of what is to come. Wisdom on the other hand is how to bring the word of knowledge to pass. Adam erred yet Christ repaired. How can this feat be accomplished? Read the scriptures and you can see the handiwork of God's wisdom in: preparing a people, declaring his word, then setting the stage and fulfilling his word.

This is the preaching of the cross. The temple sacrifices that pointed: to blood sacrifice, to forgiveness, to cleansing, to healing, to truth. The prophecies that spoke of Jesus and his time on the cross, his manner of death. Only in the cross does the fullness of God's wisdom finally reveal itself to the searching soul.

to them that perish - foolishness

Ah… mankind. They did not retain a knowledge of God. The lessons God showed them were forgotten. They searched their darkened hearts and tried to find the light of reason from within. In their search… They bowed to worship the things of nature. They perverted the way of blood sacrifice. They searched the stars and were carried away with signs and times. They thought back on history and created myths and legends to guide them. Then the first age of reason appeared and the philosophy of men replaced the gods, the stars and the legends. This wisdom was worldly and rested on the animal nature of man. This worldly wisdom led to the rise of intellectual babblings, while dismissing what came from above. Then in their arrogance men declared themselves to be gods.

The new-found knowledge is a testimony of the lost. Their faith rests in the things of their own devising. The thought of a blood sacrifice on the cross is too gross an idea for the "intellectual" man to take seriously. They see no rhyme or reason in the words of the bible. In their minds they have debased the truth to the status of fables.

Wherever they are on the spiritual scale, from bowing to a piece of bronze, to signs and portents, to the age of reason… the preaching of the cross is foolishness in their eyes.

to them that believe - the power of God

Ah… the faithful. They heard the message of the cross. They hoped that such a thing could be true. Then the spark of faith ignited the candle called "spirit" within them. More words from the book and the light within them illumined the word spoken or read. The wisdom of God appeared, line upon line and precept upon precept. They will grow in knowledge and wisdom until once again only the cross and Jesus, who was nailed to it, can be seen.

It is Jesus… and him crucified… on the cross… that opens wide the promises of God. In this single event is the culmination of the wisdom of God. Everything before leads to it. Everything after derives its impetus from it. The cross… It is the key to wisdom. It is the righteousness that clothes us. It is the act that sets us apart to work the works of God. It is our restoration to being the sons and daughters of God.

The cross is the display of: God's love, God's grace, God's mercy, God's power. The cross makes these four things available to us. Wisdom… Righteousness… Sanctification… Redemption. Thank God for the cross and for Jesus who died on it.

Joseph Raymond
12 March 2004

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